Chatting with Kian
IT’S THE KIND OF IDEA YOU LOOK AT AND SUDDENLY THINK, ‘WHY HAS NO ONE EVER THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE?’ AT LEAST, I DID WHEN I FOUND THE SPROUTING BOOKS PROFILE ON INSTAGRAM. A STACK OF BOOKS WITH A HOLE IN THE CENTRE AND A PLANT GROWING OUT OF THEM. SO SIMPLE, SO CUTE – SO IMPRESSED THAT I HAD TO FIND OUT WHERE THIS GENIUS IDEA CAME FROM…
I sat down with Kelly, the genius behind Sprouting Books, one morning at Side Pocket Espresso in Mayfield to hear the story behind the project and how people will be able to get hold of one from her.
Tell me a little bit about your project, Kelly!
Kelly: Well, my husband actually made me one for our tenth anniversary about two years ago; I thought they’d make an awesome present for my daughters’ preschool teachers last year, and they all absolutely loved them. So I thought maybe I could make some more and maybe make a little bit of money. Then I just kept making and making them. Made a Facebook page and an Instagram page.
An odd but natural moment?
Have you always been craft-orientated?
Yeah, I think I get that from my dad. My little girl is just like that too: always drawing and making something.
It’s a very cool idea. It seems like there’s a lot of opportunity for custom versions.
Yes, I’ll do colours or I’ll try to do themes – subject themes.
I assume you need a lot of books?
Yes! I just put an ad up on buy/swap/sell pages for free or cheap books – any condition, doesn’t matter. The older the better. I had someone, an older lady, who had a great aunt or some other who was a hoarder/collector of old books; [she had] hundreds of boxes, half water damaged so they can’t be read – perfect for this.
That is a lot of storage space then?
[Laughs] my husband doesn’t like it. I’ve kind of taken up our outdoor patio.
How long ago did you start?
This is so fresh!
Yeah, only really fresh.
Do you have a work process? Do you do lots at once or as required?
It depends – I’m still working that out. I’ll do a big chunk for markets and sell what is left online, but I do a lot of custom orders and then it’s as they come in.
And do you have a setup ready to go?
Most of it. All the books are sorted into colours. I’m a little bit more excited about drills now than my husband is.
They’re all succulents that you use?
Succulents and cactus.
When people choose one, do they get to pick what sort?
Usually, at the markets especially, I’ll have them made up, but I’ve had a couple of customers say, ‘I don’t like that, can you swap it?’, which I have done. For now I grow them myself. It’s amazing how you can grow another one just from a leaf.
Are you at all the markets?
Currently I’m just at the Handmade in the Hunter Valley Markets at Pokolbin. I’ve only been there twice, but people seem to like them; that gives me a bit more confidence to do some of the others like Olive Tree [Markets].
Where do you hang out when you aren’t selling books with plants growing out of them?
Well, I’m a mum, so lots of mum stuff.